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Oct 24th, 2009 - Sculpting and Maquettes




This month we break away from the computer and get down with some tactile materials.

ABOSG welcomes an all star line lineup of traditional and modern sculptors.  Each panelist will have 15 min to discuss their style with q&a at the end.  Come join us - meetings are free.


diablotexas Diablo Texas
Diablo Texas is a Dallas based artist obsessed with monsters and robots. Along with limited edition art prints, custom painted vinyl figures and paintings, Diablo Texas also has a self created B-movie, sci-fi adventure comic called Max Rocket....but that's not what this is. This is the personal side. I keep the art on the myspace and professional website. This is just to say anything that's not as much art related. the bonus prize is that I keep a continuous soundtrack to my life going with a new song on each post.




Edward Ruiz
Edward lives and works in his studio in exposition park across from the state fair of texas! He is currently casting resin figures that he sculpts and molds. He also does video and lighting for rock shows and other fun events


scotthiggins Scott Higgins
Toy designer, sculptor, all around creative problem solver. A graduate of Ringling College of Art and Design he honed his skills in illustration, Marquette building and toy making along with extended study at the New York Toy Making Symposium. A personal high point was being part of the "A Better Tomorrow" series by Playimaginive and Coca Cola. Since moving to Texas he started MonsterBot Studio a blog site where he shares his process of creating hand casted toys and models.

janel Janel Rouge
Janel Rouge is a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has created institutional displays of work including the Amazon Rising exhibit at the Shedd Aquarium, and a twenty-four panel clay/mosaic mural through Gallery 37. In 2008 she completed a 34-foot tall bronze sculpture for the State of Washington through Victoria Fuller's Studio. Her love of sculpting the human figure as well as moulding natural forms brought her to instruct at the Palette & Chisel Academy of Fine Arts for several years. She now lives in Dallas, TX where she works at a Sparkman/Hillcrest Memorial Park designing monumental markers. Her work has been featured in several magazines, is in private collections and can be publicly viewed throughout the U.S.


Patrick Keith

Patrick began his art at an early age sculpting and drawing. Over the course  of his life he has studied and crafted art, music, sculpture, photography,  cinematography, animation and audio recording engineering in a desire to
develop a variety of skills, interests and techniques. He has produced work  for several clients in the gaming industry including cover, interior and  collectible gaming card art. Upon returning from GenCon 2005, Patrick resumed sculpting and endeavored to work through his animosity towards the dreaded "green putty". Shortly after, Patrick attended the Reaper Artist
Conference and participated in a few workshops which solidified his technique and imparted invaluable instruction and tips. He is currently
making himself available to miniature companies as a freelance figure designer and sculptor.



Sculpting Panel:

Patrick Kieth - http://www.patrickkeith.com/ Started by work in
miniatures. Hero Clix type stuff. Work in plumbers epoxy putty. Not
easy to work with, but withstands heat and pressure. Uses a method
similar to lost wax technique.

Janel Rouge - more of a fine artist. SAIC grad with a strong
traditional focus. Janel worked at shed aquarium, fabricating dioramas
and exhibit pieces in epoxy resin. Working on large scale bronze
moldings. Rouge Portrait Sculpture and now does funerary work.

Edward Ruiz - http://edwardruizart.blogspot.com/ started at Dallas
Museum of Nature and Science in exhibit preparatory. Began making
molds for museum paleontology exhibits. Scot recommends using resin
because it is strong and largely indestructible. At the same time, he
began developing own characters and making molds. Resin is ok if they
are not designed to move. While he has been asked about designing for
mass production, he prefers the more immediate aspect of limited

Scott Higgins - http://monsterbotstudio.blogspot.com/ Sculptor and toy
designer. Scott started in illustration and moved to into 3d. Maquette
building is a throwback to 2d animation - it allows animators to have
the physical thing to for reference. Scott shifted his focus to the
maquette aspect of the program.
Scott has had several Trexie (blank platform toy) designs accepted.
These require following a strict set of guidelines including a set
number of pantone colors.

(Trexi design submissions - The contest has already passed, but it
would be a fun class project) http://www.trexi.com.sg/submit.html
In order to have a true custom figure produced, it will probably
require going to china. Getting your own toy produced is hard work and
requires a good deal of money. It is often best to get a middle man to
deal with the factories, and be sure to keep a good relationship with
him. Any mistakes can lead to a giant error in production - like
making a hard toy soft like a rubber ducky. Or you can learn Chinese.
Bigger companies like McFarlane Toys (http://www.spawn.com/) will have
in-house sculptors. They sculpt out of Casteline, Sculpy or Magic
sculp, then do a mold and cast in resin. These will include all
necessary joints and articulations. Once they do a blank, the finished
prototype is painted and sent to china for the most accuracy.
Miniatures become harder to cast. If they have air bubbles they will
explode - same effect as bubbles in a kiln. BOOM

John Gonzales
John went to the Art Institute  for 3d modeling. John enjoys
customizing Munny blank dolls, as well as some of the blanks from
Jamungo - austin. So much better to do it yourself. When sculpting a
maquette, create a wire armature the you wont have to worry that it
will fall. Lots of people can do amazing sculpts in zbrush, but if the
figure is unable to stand, it will not be useful in the real world.
This is why many 3D houses still use physical maquettes to evaluate
the effects of the environment and determine edge flow.

Group Discussion:
Janel Rouge - Learn to look forward to the accidents - it's part of
the natural artistic process
Looking at a physical model is going to teach you more about the form.
Take a look at Painting with fire - documentary on frank frazetta
trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5mm65Opc74Y
Patrick Kieth - By studying the basic art principles, you can apply
knowledge that to all other areas - even if it is a spaceship.
Traditional art is always the key - you can learn the computers as you
Vince Sidwell - you can teach a monkey to push the buttons, but it's
the artists who will keep their jobs. And it's the button pushers that
are getting outsourced.
Edward Ruiz Sometimes you cant get to a computer - or dont have time.
If you dont have the skills to communicate the design in pen and paper
as needed, you will not get the jobs. Custom toys fall into the
category of print work. Pieces are produced on an editions basis.

After the panel, I went up to discuss the casting process and see if I
could get any advice for producing my own toys.
Eric brought some of his molds for display, so I asked him about the
casting procedures. He said to be sure to allow gaps for the air to
go. it doesn't necessarily have to sprue all the way out, but make a
cavity in the mold that will allow the air to move. lay the character
flat, and build a clay shell around the bottom. Use a pencil to make
registration holes. Make a box around the figure and fill the mold to
make the top portion. Flip the assembly, remove the clay and put back
in the box. Make the second part of the box and fill. If doing a tail,
may need a three segment mold.
Check Hobbytown usa for paints - Testors are ok, but he recommends Citadel.
Scott brought some larger pieces and I asked about setting the thicker
diameters. He recommended building up an inner form with foil and
keeping the sculpy not more than 1/2 inch thick. He also noted the
uneven texture on my models and suggested brushing it with paint
thinner before baking to remove the finger lines.
Both said to check out Renylds Advanced Materials for supplies.
http://www.reynoldsam.com/ They are in downtown dallas but will ship
anywhere. The also said it was best to buy a gallon at a time to save